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North Córdoba: Salinas Grandes and Cerro Colorado


Salinas Grandes is a white desert that challenges the stereotypical mountain landscape. Cerro Colorado stands out for its cave paintings and for being home to the famous musician and poet Atahualpa Yupanqui, whose house is now a museum.

It can be visited all year round. In January and February, temperatures may be quite high. You will need sunglasses and sunscreen for the salt flats.

What to see
Salinas Grandes

A huge salt flat that is great to visit at dawn or at dusk. Although in winter, the soil is dry, summer rains fill it with water, creating a wondrous landscape that looks like the surface of a mirror, perfectly reflecting the silhouettes of the flamingos that inhabit the place. You can stay at San José de las Salinas to visit the salt flat. 

Cerro Colorado

Some 100 km away from San José de las Salinas, Cerro Colorado Cultural and Nature Reserve is home to cave paintings made by the Comechingones and Sanavirones more than 2 thousand years ago. Cerro Colorado is a National Historic Monument and the tour along its walkways and paths is done with an expert guide. There is a museum as well. 

Cueva del Indio is a viewpoint on Veladero Mountain, from where you can spot Colorado Mountain. It takes one hour to reach its peak. 

The house of Don Atahualpa Yupanqui, now a museum, is a must-see visit to remember one of the legends of folklore.  

How to get there and move around

From Córdoba, you can get to San José de las Salinas by national routes 9 and 60 (both asphalt-paved). From there, it is 12 km to Salinas Grandes along a dirt road in good condition. 

It is recommended not to use a vehicle on the salt flat, as the salt crust is rather fragile, might be easily broken and you might get stuck. Admission is free, but the company of an expert guide is highly recommended.

To reach Cerro Colorado Reserve from National Route 9, take a 10 km detour (asphalt-paved) at Santa Elena.

Where to stay

San José de las Salinas has a hotel that offers excursions and astro-tourism activities.

At Cerro Colorado Reserve, there are some cabins, country houses, lodges, a hotel and an inn. Local restaurants indulge visitors with regional dishes.

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